This recipe for lemon bars made me think back to YEARS ago when our girls were in high school. I was a working mom and perpetually in a rush. I started baking what I called "idiot cookies." (Credit to Peg Bracken's snarky humor in her "I Hate to Cook" cookbook.)
It's completely politically incorrect to use that term today. Happily, I've changed my ways! Now I call them Desperation Cookies!
Here is how these lemon bars came about. One cold November night, I remembered my old cake mix cookie trick and wrote about it here. The recipe has been shared and shared. That tells me we all live in a state of constant hurry.
Make bars! Don't get me wrong! Desperation cookies are fantastic. I've made dozens and dozens to share at our grandkids' ball games, potlucks, and family meals.
But then one night, I was bone tired and totally done dealing. Even "idiot cookies" were too much for me to face.
I couldn't muster the gumption to shape the dough into 36 balls. So, I just patted the dough into a bar pan. Guess what? It worked great!
Ever since then, these simple lemon bars made from a cake mix have shot to the top of the chart as a favorite!
Does anyone remember Toll House Bars? Of course, you do because they're amazing! At some point, a "smart cookie" came up with the idea of spreading cookie dough in a bar pan. Voila! A classic was born!
The first time I tried making Desperation Cookies into bars, I used a yellow cake mix with toffee chips and they turned out great! After that, I was off and running!
Whatever cake mix/chip combo you choose, the method is the same. What's more, the possibilities are almost endles!!
We all love lemon desserts so a little lemon glaze was a no-brainer! Of all the variations I've tried, this is the only one I glaze because they just cried out for a bit more tang!
You can skip the glaze, it's up to you! They're delicious either way!
Try these variations too!
*Yellow cake mix + toffee bits! They are the favorite of our grandson's buddy Brandt! We call them Brandt bars!
*Yellow cake mix + cinnamon chips and cinnamon sugar on top! Busy day Snickerdoodle Bars!
*Spice cake mix + butterscotch or caramel chips! A perfect bar for fall!
*Chocolate cake mix + peppermint bits or peanut butter chips! So yummy!
*Lemon cake mix + cherry chips! The cutest polka-dots!
*Strawberry cake mix + white chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips! (Oooh, maybe this one would be good with a little chocolate glaze!)
After all, has there ever been a BAD bar cookie? What is YOUR favorite bar cookie?
If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you!
If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!
Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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